Today started out like every other day: depressing. I sat beside another hospital bed and attempted to comfort a dying patient. This young woman had been suffering terribly from cancer and it finally caught up to her. Leaning closer to her bed, I rested my hand on top of hers. It was just the two of us. She had no family on Isle II, and no one knew her. Since she arrived, I had her remain in the hospital. She never went outside, never met other people, and never enjoyed life. That was a mistake I regretted when it was too late. With kind eyes, I looked at her pale face and whispered, “It will be okay, I am here with you now.”
She tapped my smooth dark hand and shook her head. “You are only here because you have to be, Dr. Agro, but that’s good enough for me.” She tried to smile but couldn’t the pain was too great and her sorrows too heavy. She turned her head away from me to look out the window at the city below. Taking a deep breath, she exhaled and leaned her head back on her pillow, never to wake up again.
I sat for a moment in silence. Another patient had passed and I was filled with regret. Standing up, I bent over her and shut her eyelids. I jotted down a few notes on the clipboard beside her bed and called a nurse in. Taking a final glance at the woman, I sighed and went on my way.
Being the Keeper of Saviors is not the most pleasant job. Even though I love saving people, failing is the most painful experience. However, I have learned to live with the pain in order to reduce the pains of others. So, despite watching another patient die that morning, I pressed on to my next task, hoping it would take my mind off of that experience.
I walked down the long hallway to the students’ wing. With my hands shoved into the pockets of my white lab coat, I strolled past classrooms where the children worked, operated, and studied diligently. Every once in awhile, a few would greet me. Today, they were too anxious. Many of the older ones were scheduled for one of their first tests before they could work in the clinic with real patients. As I scanned each of their little faces, I couldn’t help but remember the faces of the children I have failed to save or who were beyond hope. Each person that was lost left an imprint of my memory. A haze of lives that should have been lived.
Wanting to put that in the recesses of my mind, I kept my head down and ignored the students, which I did often. I never wanted them to get the impression that I was a grumpy, distant, unfriendly Keeper but some days I had no choice.
Finally, I reached the final door in the hall leading to the observation room. I paused outside the door for a moment to clear my head. When I was ready enough, I turned the silver doorknob and went in.
Going inside I found a few coworkers standing by a glass window that looked into an operating room. Three of the students had already begun working on a sleeping patient. I took a file from off of a nearby table and read it over: Metal shards lodged into patient’s side. Minor injury. Students Ethan, Harold, and Zita. I looked up at the three children. Carefully, they worked together on the man. I could tell they were nervous but that was all right. That showed me that they cared about what they were doing. As I watched, I was amazed at their dexterity and attention to detail. A minor mistake here or there; easily fixable. They had successfully removed the metal shards and closed the wound. The test was over; they passed.
I looked down at my clipboard to enter the results when I heard a crash. Glancing up, I saw the girl, Zita, on the floor picking up the metal pieces she had dropped. My coworkers began murmuring amongst themselves, saying that her mistake should be an automatic fail. I thought otherwise. Leaning on the glass, I watched as her comrades rushed to her side and helped her. As they cleaned the mess, the boys whispered words of encouragement to their friend. They were true friends.
“Doctor, what should their grade be now?” one of the nurses asked me when the children left and went to wait for me.
Turning to her, I said, “The same as before. These students are ones who are going to make good doctors.”
“Sir?” she asked, confused.
“They actually care,” I stated. With that, I took the folder from her and went to greet the children myself. Going out, I found the three anxiously awaiting the results. When I entered, they stood up and I told them the good news. They were relieved and grateful. Harold seemed laxer than the others. Zita asked about her mistake, and I told her it meant nothing and that the way they worked together was all that mattered. I have to say, I am very proud of the three of them. I know that they will be a great team in the future.
After that, I went about the rest of my Keeper duties. I survived more sad moments, but that’s the life of a doctor. You have to be strong and make the difficult choices. Even though I go to bed at night with regret and sorrow, I have a glimmer of hope that children such as Ethan, Harold, and Zita can save individuals better than I ever could.